PBIS @ Tipping Point

Posted on 29 Sep 2009 in Intervention, School Behavior, Special Education, Uncategorized | Comments Off on PBIS @ Tipping Point

I spoke about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) at a School Safety and Prevention conference today. The audience was predominantly administrators looking for some awareness level training on this topic. Less then 1/2 of the people in the room had heard about PBIS.

During the intro session, I mentioned that PBIS seemed to be reaching a tipping point (to quote a phrase coined by Malcolm Gladwell). There are several reasons I reached this conclusion:

from flickr

from flickr

  1. The Obama 2009 ARRA Stimulus grant specifically mentions that schools should spend Stimulus funds on positive behavior interventions and supports.
  2. The House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on May 19, 2009 to examine abusive and deadly uses of seclusion and restraint in U.S. schools. Recommendation strongly favor the use of positive behavior interventions and supports as a proactive and evidence-based practice that schools should adopt to avoid punitive practices such as seclusion and restraint.
  3. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, released a memo to all school superintendents on July 31, 2001 urging states to adopt positive behavior interventions and supports to avoid punitive practices.
  4. In our state of Arizona, a recent Task Force on seclusion and restraint provided recommendations to schools to implement proactive and evidence-based practice including the use of positive behavior interventions and supports, functional behavioral assessments, and behavior intervention plans.

For these reasons ,nationally and locally, I believe that PBIS has finally hit a tipping point and educators are beginning to see the need for a school-wide Response to Intervention (RTI) approach to support disruptive behavior in school. Even though over 10,000 schools across the nation are currently implementing PBIS according to PBIS.org, we still have a long way to go.

Do we have the capacity for training?

My greatest concern, is that we don’t have the capacity to train all the schools and districts that have finally found their way to this very effective school-wide behavior intervention. I fear that, like a gold rush, prospectors will be lining up left and right to offer their services to train schools. However, with inadequate training and support, PBIS cannot be implemented with integrity and will therefore fail in far more schools then it succeeds. The result, teachers may think that it was a fad and an ineffective treatment- when the truth is that it was never implemented with enough integrity to do it’s job.

So, is PBIS at a tipping point? If so, do states have the capacity to train schools and teachers? How does it look from your corner of this world, leave me a comment, I’d like to hear.